WASHINGTON -- With the playoffs underway and the subterfuge already in full swing, injured Rangers forward Brian Boyle revealed very little after skating with the team Thursday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury April 16.
Boyle seemed encouraged by the morning's skate but didn't offer up much more regarding his potential return to the lineup.
"I felt good," he said.
Any idea of a timeline?
"I felt good," he answered. "It was positive."
Boyle did concede, sort of, that he is hopeful to return to the lineup at some point during this series vs. Washington.
"Playoffs. I want to be out there as quick as I can. It felt good, so that's all I really know," he said. "I don't have any idea how it's supposed to work. I'm trying to feel as good as I can as fast as I can."
Boyle was similarly noncommittal when asked whether he would require medical clearance before he can resume playing.
"We've got a whole staff of medical guys," Boyle said. "Again, I'm not a doctor."
Boyle also declined to answer whether he has skated prior to Thursday on his own.
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Injured defenseman Marc Staal was a bit more forthcoming about his progress; Staal has not played since being struck in the eye with a puck on March 5.
The 26-year-old said he doesn't want to risk coming back until he is confident he can make a positive impact, especially considering the heightened pressure this time of year.
"When I feel like I'm going to be able to help the team win and be successful, I'll get back on the ice," Staal said. "Hopefully that's sooner rather than later."
How will he know?
"As soon as I'm not second-guessing myself or hesitating, or [once] I do things I normally do becomes automatic again is when I can jump into a playoff-type game," Staal said.
Staal praised the work of the Rangers' defensive corps in his absence and said he doesn't want to "compromise" that by returning prematurely. He admitted that the situation might be different if this was a regular-season scenario, but that it makes no sense to take the risk with critical playoff games on the line.
"If it were Game 10 maybe I'd jump out there for a few shifts," he said. "But right now the stakes are too high."
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